Today I was gifted with an afternoon with Maria. On the Monday back from Spring Break, I didn't even feel its typical aches and pains, because after swirling in last night at a late hour from visiting home for the weekend, I awoke to a sunny day holding the promise of meeting my dear friend at noon.
A couple weeks ago, I got one of the quirky, make-my-heart-smile messages from Maria that make her one of my favorite friends ever. Her message told of how she had been on the highway that day and got the urge to come see me from our shared hometown three hours from the city. Turning onto the Chicago-bound I-55, she wasn't far into the trip when she remembered that her headlights didn't work, and she couldn't possibly get to Chicago and back before dark. Instead of then turning around and heading back home, she drove a little while longer towards Chicago. This she did, as she says, "just to be near" me. "Crazy, yes. Odd, yes. A sign of my love and adoration of you and our friendship, yes. Next time I make the trip I will go all the way. I love you, friend."
What comes to mind is the musical tune of "How do you solve a problem like Maria?" but instead with words about what a gem of a friend she is! This time, she made it all the way, and we had the most lovely afternoon. She spoiled me by treating me to lunch at Chipotle (talk about knowing a girl's love language!) and we talked and talked and talked. And talked. And then we shopped. What sweet little sentences.
After I returned some awkwardly sized rain boots from JCrew, Maria found a great black dress at Ann Taylor Loft, which I proceeded to give her a motivational speech about in the dressing room concerning the dress' versatility and promise to serve her faithfully in many circumstances and plights. She bought the dress, and, after a near knock-down-drag-out fight, a shirt for me for my birthday. The girl just cannot keep spoiling me like that. But it was so fun.
What I loved most about my afternoon with Maria was how comfortable we are together- we can talk about anything, everything, do errands, and take five years in the dressing room at one store and never feel ill-at-ease. Being together means just enjoying one of the greatest gifts of true friendship. Tomorrow I have to venture out for a load of groceries, and Maria, I only wish you were here to go with me! But it's a good thing you went home when you did, since those headlights still don't work. I love you and our friendship so much!